It’s tough to communicate effectively when emotions are running high. And knowing how to deliver bad news — without making things worse — is especially difficult for most people. Whether it’s a conflict with clients or a disagreement in the boardroom, you need to use language that helps manage the conversation while maintaining a positive impression.
Sounds simple, right? Not exactly.
That’s why you need to develop messaging for the average business crisis long before it occurs.
Start by creating a conflict management copy bible. These carefully crafted pre-written messages help you address the most pertinent business issues you’re likely to face without damaging your reputation.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Determine what your core values are. These values are what you want others to believe about you. They will serve as a foundation for every message you write. You can’t create a consistent, relatable or trustworthy message without them.
- Make a list of negative and positive business issues. Then, starting with the top three, find the words that best express your goals and values in these scenarios. Stick with this process until you’ve tackled every item on your list. Then let me review these statements — or write the ones which leave you stymied — for authenticity, clarity and effectiveness. My job is to ensure that you’re never at a loss for the right words.
- Craft messages that can be used to address future conflicts. In all cases, describe what is true for you and cast everyone else involved in the situation as favorably as possible. The more objective your message, the greater your chance of successfully dealing with the situation.
- Practice delivering messages when times are good. Don’t wait until you’re in a pinch to try out your messages. Rehearse them on a regular basis and they will naturally roll off your tongue when, not if, you need them.